Saint Louis, MO

How IN UNISON Scholar of St. Louis Symphony Orchestra Influenced Alayna Epps's Music Dream

Steve Chao

St. Louis, MO - Alayna Epps is one of the students who received the IN UNISON Scholar by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Her scholarship gave her the chance to study at the University of Missouri-St Louis and manage to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Degree of Distinction in Creativity in the Arts last May.

As a second-year scholar who received the IN UNISON Scholar, Epps tells her story on how music has influenced her life. She loves to perform since she joined dance lessons and a choir during elementary. Epps also joined to sing in a music choir church since his father is a pastor. For her, music is a meaningful experience for every person in the world, including those in the deaf community.

During high school, she went to various universities with music programs and reached the interview phase. Her effort didn't go well during this phase because she doesn't know how to answer questions related to the music theory.

Epps then continued her studies at UMSL taking a business major, but she had a lack of interest in the studies. Her life went to a better pathway when she got approached by Michelle Byrd, the Director of the IN UNISON Scholars program.

Bird offers Epps the IN UNISON scholars after observing during her sophomore year as the president of the Gospel Choir and also at University Singers. The program makes her a great musician and benefits her in helping the community. Through the IN UNISON Scholars program, she got accepted at the University of Missouri-St Louis.

During her time as a college student, she learned from a video how music affects the reaction and response of people with Alzheimer's which inspired her. --what is it inspired her for?--

She also took an internship program at the Creative Music Making Program for two years. She felt joyful when she saw the musicians of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra played and interacted together with people who have intellectual disabilities.

By this fall, Alayna Epps will take the Master of Music Therapy Program at Maryville University. She got accepted after being introduced to Dr. Laura Beers, the director of Music Therapy at Maryville University. This came after she expressed her desire and idea to Maureen Byrne and Michelle Bird to build a facility named the Arts Gym.

Epps sees the IN UNISON Chorus as a community that helps lifting everyone's spirit. People there would give support and treat each other like families. She also met SLO Music Director Stéphane Denève and encouraged Epps to chase her dream with her voice.

For her, the IN UNISON Chorus is a community that could lift the spirits and the people there are like families, where they would support each other. She also had the chance to meet SLSO Music Director Stéphane Denève and encourage her to chase her dream with her voice.

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